It was the morning after the wedding. Some of us were still on east coast time. I woke up very early (but not early enough to see one of my siblings off to the airport, it seems). Daylight was breaking and I could hear the sounds of the birds outside the window of our cabin at the Fern River Resort. The rest of the folks seemed to be safely asleep in their cabins. They were probably recovering from the festivities of the previous night. It was a quiet time.
The resort lay among tall redwood trees,on a hillside overlooking a point where a little stream met the San Lorenzo river down below us. (The name of the resort seems to be a misnomer. Perhaps the little stream used to be called the Fern River, but I could not find any confirmation of this anywhere.) The sun had not risen high enough to break through the hills, the tall redwoods, and the early morning clouds. I decided to enjoy my moment of quiet down by the river side.
I crossed over the rocks and little sand dunes beside the river (probably a part of of the river bed itself when the waters were high) and arrived at a little open stretch of land beside the water itself. It was quite narrow at this point, and the river was possibly crossable on foot if the water had not been flowing swiftly. Upstream, just behind an overhang of leaves, I noticed a family of mergansers. They had been floating downstream and had abruptly stopped in the water, having sighted me in the open space on the river bank. They seemed to be considering their options to proceed downstream. I had my camera in hand.
All of a sudden, they were moving downstream, effortlessly. They had simply moved into a position to be caught by the swift current, to let it take them forward. I pulled up my camera to take pictures, but I was unsuccessful because of the speed and the light. They floated by, with mamma and papa duck leading the way, and the little one trailing behind, trying to keep pace. The moment passed by quickly and I stayed by the riverside for a few more minutes to simply absorb the soothing sounds of its flow. What a peaceful and glorious morning.I am so happy to have met some of young people who were present at the wedding. We will certainly not forget the ones who went out of their way to quietly serve the people and help make the event happen. Remarkable human beings, and good examples for all of us to follow!There was this other time when we were talking about how we were planning to get to church in the nearby town of Felton for Sunday services, and they offered up their car keys without hesitation, and without even being asked. Their minds had jumped one step ahead to how they could help us in any way. It is not as if we even knew them well.
Today is the birthday of an old friend. We go back a long way, all the way back to elementary school. My friend is a remarkable person – full of joy, sweet, smart, kind, curious, adventurous, and always helpful. He is one terrific guy. I went on a bike ride with him this summer in the Rockies in Canada. Here are some pictures from the ride that capture his spirit, including his sometimes playful, dare I say, cheeky nature.
At the start of the ride.At the Goats and Glaciers viewpoint.The lovely couple.Do not know what happened here!Supporting a fellow rider up a challenging slope.He is his own man,but I am not sure what he is doing here.They both have one foot in the Banff National Park and the other in the Jasper National Park.The explorer on Parker Ridgeprobably looking at Saskatchewan Glacier (not in the picture) in the distance.He gives a friendly wave as we head out to our stop for the evening at The Crossing Resort.He was the first to venture into the glacier fed waters of Waterfowl lake. It was cold!Here he is returning from an exploration in the vicinity of Bow Summit.The friendly wave. Happy birthday and happy trails, my friend!
Perhaps you will sense a different feeling to this post when compared to the earlier ones from the ride. Of course, one of the reasons this post is different is because of what I did to myself at the end of the day. The other reason is more sentimental. I want to acknowledge my travel companions. The focus is not just on the scenery but on the people who accompanied me. I am going to break my own unspoken rule and specifically mention names. I am hoping that nobody minds. We start in the morning as we get ready to depart Lake Louise.
Being his usual helpful self, Rick had packed our luggage into the back of Ben’s van for the last day’s ride. He was quite proud of his effort. Rick also did his bit to keep us entertained as we rode every day.Here is Ben giving us instructions for the last day. Ben was very thorough in his support. Go ahead and take a tour with him at Mountain Madness Tours. You will not be disappointed!We had been riding thus far on the Icefields Parkway. From now on we are on the Bow Valley Parkway. The funny thing is that my bear sighting was pretty soon after we saw this sign. The road ran beside the Bow River.Here is a picture of the riders on the move. You may notice that the road markings here are very different from those encountered on the Icefields Parkway.A freight train awaits beside the road.Koushik, the heart and soul of our riding team.One way to smell the flowers, perhaps on another planet (get it!?).Nancy and Stacy, old college mates.Ben in his vehicle, after overtaking one of the riders.I stopped with KP at a memorial point for the Castle Camp internment camp. Even though this episode happened during WW1, it is not difficult to imagine something like this happening even in our modern times.The last paragraph in the wayside marker for the internment camp below reads “In total, eight thousand five hundred and seventy-nine men became prisoners of war in twenty-four camps located across Canada during the internment operations of 1914-1920. Most were foreign nationals, a few were British subjects or Canadian citizens. The majority were non-combatant, unemployed civilians – victims of the 1913 depression, racial prejudice and wartime hysteria. Many of the internees came from western regions of Ukraine, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.”Stacy, Nancy and Sally.The Bow river.Ben’s van and trailer at the last stopping point.Resting before the last push.Sally and Bob, our riding leaders. They were the youngest and the oldest in the group. Bob, a former triathlete, took on the hills we encountered as if he was on a mission. Sally was not too far behind.A squirrel observing the goings-on at this last stop.This was the last picture I found on the camera after the trip. I did not take this picture. The time stamp on the picture leads me to believe that it was taken after I fell off the bike. I suspect that Bob, who had retrieved the camera and eventually delivered it to my home, took a picture to see if the camera was working. A great picture from that perspective. The camera ended up in better shape than I did! That was the end of the ride, but not the end of my adventures.
If you want to continue to read about how I got home from Canada, start with this posting.